January 01, 2021

Strategic Command in War & Crisis: General Sir Rupert Smith: Inspiring Leadership Interview with Jonathan Bowman-Perks

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General Sir Rupert Smith KCB, DSO & Bar, OBE, QGM found in exercising leadership at this level it is well to remember that: fame has no present and popularity no future.

General Sir Rupert Smith KCB, DSO & Bar, OBE, QGM –

Former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe DSACEUR and the Army’s Most Respected Strategic Thinker.

General Sir Rupert Smith, is a retired British Army Officer of 40 years’ experience. He commanded forces at every rank from Second Lieutenant to General in all five continents. On three occasions in the 1990s, he commanded formations of some 20,000 people and 750 fighting vehicles and airplanes to achieve strategic goals: in the Gulf War 90/91, in Bosnia 95 and in Northern Ireland 96-98.

Additionally, from 1999 until 2001 he was the Deputy Commander of all NATO forces engaged in operations in the Balkans, notably Kosovo. On each occasion the objectives, the politics, the theatre, the opposition and the forces were different and often multinational. He found in exercising leadership at this level it is well to remember that: fame has no present and popularity no future. Based on this experience he will talk about leadership, particularly strategic leadership.

From November 1998 – Sep 2001, General Sir Rupert Smith was Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe. One of the most outstanding officers of his generation, he became DSACEUR after commanding the British Army in Northern Ireland between 1996 and 1998 and UNPROFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995. He retired early in 2002.

General Sir Rupert Smith served in the British Army in East and South Africa, Arabia, the Caribbean, Europe and Malaysia before commanding, as a Major General, the British 1st Armoured Division during the Gulf War. As the first Assistant Chief of Defence Operations and Security at the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence in 1992, he was intimately involved in the United Kingdom’s development of the strategy in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1995 he was Commander UNPROFOR in Sarajevo and in 1996–8 was the Officer Commanding in Northern Ireland. His final assignment was as Deputy Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe in 1998–2001, covering the NATO operation ‘‘Allied Force’’ during the Kosovo conflict and the development of the European Security and Defence Identity. He retired from the army in 2002. Since 2006 he has been international advisor to the ICRC. His experience is shared to some extent through the words of his treatise on modern warfare, The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (Penguin, London, 2005).

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